Fotocrime’s fourth album and latest offering, Accelerated, is a sonic journey that seamlessly weaves together darkwave, post-punk, art rock, and synth-pop influences to create an atmospheric, almost ethereal soundscape. The band’s penchant for blending genres and styles creates a sound that channels the brooding intensity of Depeche Mode while adding its own unique cinematic touch. Ryan Patterson’s rich, mesmerizing baritone voice sounds worlds away from his time as vocalist/guitarist for hardcore band Coliseum. Backed by guitarist Nick Thieneman’s (Young Widows) atmospheric textures and bassist Will Allard’s driving bass lines laid down over the steady rhythm of electronic drum beats and layered synths, Fotocrime skillfully infuses danceability into the mix, creating songs that are both hauntingly melancholic and rhythmically infectious. Accelerated is an album that’s best enjoyed in one sitting, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves in the richly layered soundscapes and the emotional gravity of the lyrics revolving around themes of yearning, love, loss, and redemption. With Accelerated, Fotocrime have managed to transcend their own boundaries and push the envelope of the genres they’ve previously explored while proving their ability to craft complex, layered soundscapes that are as haunting as they are intoxicating, creating an album that demands the listener’s attention from beginning to end.
Louisville’s HANNAN is one of those bands that just clicks on every level. Seriously, the talent, the songwriting, the musicianship, literally everything is dialed in perfectly between these five guys. And their latest single “Drama Queen” is a perfect example. “The song and video both were intended to pay homage to the 80’s hard rock scene in sort of a tongue-in-cheek-style manner,” said drummer Dean Dufresne. And the song does just that, but without sounding dated. Very few bands could pull that off, yet HANNAN does so flawlessly. You get the spirit of 80’s hair metal, but with a fresh modern rock sheen. Even the video – reminiscent of Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” (but that’s where that comparison begins and ends) — gives off that fun, upbeat vibe of 80’s hair metal videos, but in a playful way, without making fun of the genre. The song is a perfect mix of hard rock, modern rock, and alt-rock, all wrapped up in a groove-oriented, riff-driven package. But what truly sets “Drama Queen” apart is its infectious chorus that gets stuck in your head. HANNAN certainly knows how to craft hooks that stay with you long after the song has ended. It’s certainly not surprising that 3 Doors Down guitarist Chet Roberts was so impressed with this band that he produced their last album as well as their upcoming album Last Disguise. “Drama Queen” is one of those songs you’re just going to need to crank up and experience for yourself.
One thing you can never call Danny Seim is lazy. Not only is he the executive director for the Portland Museum’s new AHOY project (breaking ground in 2024), but he’s also an artist who works in multiple mediums, including drawing, painting, glass, photography, and sculpture. But above all else, Seim is a musician — a founding member of Grammy-nominated indie rock band Menomena, and later the experimental band Pfarmers with Bryan Devendorf (The National) and Dave Nelson (Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent). But prior to and during his work with those bands, Seim was recording music under the name Lackthereof — releasing 11 records between 1997 and 2012 before taking a break from music to start a family and move from Portland, OR, to Portland in Louisville. Now, Seim has reemerged with his 12th album, New Devonian, once again tackling all instruments, recording and production himself. Self-described as “a rather exciting-sounding album with a rather bleak theme,” New Devonian is a journey through the landscapes of indie rock, lo-fi, and garage rock, but with a touch of the unexpected. Elements of bands like Dawes, Modest Mouse, The National, and obviously Seim’s previous bands Menomena and Pfarmers can be heard here, but Lackthereof is its own beast. New Devonian is a unique and engaging experience that grows on you with each listen, revealing its intricacies and charm over time, and is a refreshing reminder of the power of raw, heartfelt music.
Shadow Problems 2
Following up one of my favorite local releases of the year, Shadow Problems 1, Louisville/Lexington hybrid four-piece rock band Letters of Acceptance return with Shadow Problems 2, their second EP of 2023 (and fifth overall). LOA seamlessly captures the essence of classic rock and mixes it with pop sensibilities while delivering an enchanting mix of guitar-driven melodies, catchy hooks, and exceptional vocal harmonies. Comparisons to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Violent Femmes, and My Morning Jacket are not unfounded. There is a laid-back yet exhilarating vibe blended with a certain quirkiness and a dreamy quality here that both really grab the listener and don’t let go. Every note and harmony feels meticulously thought out, yet they are played in such an easygoing, carefree way that you lose yourself in the music and stop paying attention to just how extremely well-crafted these songs are. Trust me when I say the hooks here are so infectious that they’ll stay with you long after the music stops. Shadow Problems 2 is certainly a must-listen for anyone who appreciates timeless rock with a modern twist. The fusion of musical elements, the artful songwriting, and the exceptional performances will definitely have you hitting the replay button again and again.